I started in this industry through high school. I went to a voc-tech high school (Greater Lowell Technical High School) and took CAD/drafting as my shop. I finished my technical curriculum in my junior year which made me eligible to get a co-op job during my shop weeks. I happened to get a job at a small MEP/FP firm where I learned to draft all trades. I then went on to get my BSME from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with the intent of having a career in the MEP industry. After college, I began working as a junior mechanical engineer designing HVAC systems for buildings.

As an avid scuba diver, I see firsthand the effects of climate change on the underwater world. Renovating existing buildings to be more efficient and designing new buildings to more sustainable building standards has an immediate and direct effect on the environment. This has informed and inspired my approach in a variety of ways, giving me a holistic perspective on what it means to create built environments.  

I’ve always been treated fairly and equally at the firms I’ve worked for but have had multiple instances on construction sites where I’ve been asked if I know what I’m looking at. As a woman in a male dominated field, it’s important to know your skillset and trade well and have confidence when you explain the condition.

I’ve had great mentors at the firms I’ve worked for who have generously shared their knowledge and encouraged me along the way of meeting my goals. Their support and encouragement has been key in navigating this industry.

Recently, I led the HVAC design for a 750,000 square foot renovation for a large insurance company. The project spanned four existing buildings, each with unique HVAC systems, three architects, and one contractor. Some of the biggest challenges were uncovering some surprises that every 90+ year old building can have and completing the construction within an occupied building. 

Another of my favorite projects is a more recent one for Harvard University with the design of their new graduate student housing. It’s a brand-new high rise building on track to achieve Living Building Core and Passive House certifications, as well as LEED certifiable. This project also offers the opportunity to tie into a distributed energy facility and underground utilities that were previously designed by colleagues at RMF.

Building Enclosure Celebrates International Women's Day

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Jacqueline Beckingham Melvalean McLemore Lisa Haude Erin McDannald Ashley Smith Samantha McCormack Rachael Lewis Taylor Starr Stephanie Lafontaine Christine Faverio Erin Carlisle Melissa Strickland Lisbeth Jimenez Ula Bochinska